Subject: ISSofBC eNews Jan-Feb 2016--staff celebrate in Chinatown Parade

ISSofBC eNews Jan-Feb, 2016 
ISSofBC celebrates in Chinatown Spring Festival Parade
ISSofBC’s name was proudly on display at the 43rd annual Chinatown Parade on February 14th. Mixing Valentine’s Day cheer with “Gung Hay Fat Choy,” over 80 ISSofBC board, staff, clients and supporters braved the rain and paraded through Vancouver’s Chinatown passing out red packets with gold wrapped ISSofBC-branded chocolates to thousands of onlookers. 

Our name is ISSofBC campaign launches 

February 2016 began with Patricia Woroch, CEO, announcing “the use of ISSofBC as our official brand, and as our only name, moving forward.” Since the early 2000s, the ISSofBC name has been gaining familiarity and engagement among our colleagues, partners and friends. And now it is official: ISSofBC. One name…one mission: Helping immigrants build a future in Canada

Syrian refugees continue to arrive in BC

ISSofBC has received funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to provide Resettlement Assistance Program services for Syrian refugees arriving in BC. As of February 16, 2016 1,071 Syrian refugees have arrived in BC and are settling into transitional/permanent housing and receiving adaptation services. With an additional 1,050 Syrian refugees anticipated this month, over 50 additional staff have been hired to handle these significant numbers of new Canadians. 

To support individuals and refugee-serving organizations in helping with the Syrian resettlement process, ISSofBC in partnership with the Province of British Columbia has created the online Syrian Resettlement in BC weekly newsletter and Refugee Readiness Hub. 

ISSofBC staff humbled by generosity 

The response from people from throughout BC to the arrival of Syrian refugees has been overwhelming, with offers of help for everything from housing, to food, to clothing, to volunteering and to employment. People have also been generous with their donations, as ISSofBC’s Refugee Sponsorship Fund has raised over $150,000 to support the Private Sponsorship of Refugees. As ISSofBC’s CEO, Patricia Woroch, noted, “It is really very heartening to see the outpouring of kindness from people.” 

Volunteer interest reaches 6,000 

Over 6,000 people have registered to be volunteers and ISSofBC’s Volunteer Connections staff conducted 50 info session in the last months of 2015 in 7 cities: Vancouver, Coquitlam, Burnaby, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, Langley and Richmond. At each info session, potential volunteers received info on ISSofBC, the current Syrian refugee settlement plans and volunteering options. 

Potential volunteers, D&S Birce, noted the ISSofBC presenters “were amazingly well-organized, despite over 300 people turning up….They spoke with great compassion. These were people who loved their work and those for whom they worked.” After processing, orientation, training and completion of criminal checks, volunteers will work in groups focusing on individual refugee families. 

ISSofBC Welcome Centre opens in May

It’s now less than 3 months before staff move into ISSofBC Welcome Centre. The building is nearing completion, and detailed plans are in place for staff from throughout Vancouver to relocate beginning in May 2016.

ofBC Welcome Centre brings together under one roof a number of essential services for refugees and immigrants through a co-location model. ISSofBC Welcome Centre connects ISSofBC’s experience in transitional housing, settlement services and language classes with refugee services (ie. SOS, VAST and Inland Refugee Society), financial services (Vancity), family services (Mt. Pleasant Family Centre), a foodbank and health services.  

ISSofBC Welcome Centre’s programs and services have the unique opportunity to connect with the Kensington-Cedar Cottage and Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhoods and a wide variety of community & social service agencies. 

ISSofBC introduces IMPACT program

ISSofBC, working in conjunction with North Pacific Training and Performance, is delivering IMPACT, an initiative that is providing new insights in assisting newcomers and employers fill positions in BC’s rapidly developing technology. With funding from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, IMPACT is focusing on connecting skilled immigrants with positions in engineering, life sciences and info and communication technology.

The initiative includes products for newcomers including webinars, self-assessment sheets, fact sheets and flow charts; and products for technology sector employers including country guides and employer tool kits. 

Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia
Head Office
#501 – 333 Terminal Avenue,
Vancouver, BC V6A 2L7
Phone: 604-684-2561
Fax: 604-684-2266

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Immigrant Services Society of BC, 2610 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, BC V5N 4L2, Canada
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